Oxford Physics: Soft and Biological Matter

Julia Yeomans FRS

Professor of Physics
Pauline Chan Fellow in Physics, St Hilda's College

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Talks for general audiences

Diet pepsi on a superhydrophobic surface,
courtesy of Gurinder Punn

1. Nature's Raincoats

see www.naturesraincoats.org

2. Nature's engines: Powering life

Active materials, such as microorganisms, cells and molecular motors, continuously transform chemical to mechanical energy. Molecular motors drive cell shape changes, transport and division, and bacteria have been harnessed to self-assemble colloids and turn paddle wheels. Because they are tiny, the engines driving the motion operate in a very different environment to manmade machines, where they have to contend with crowding, strong fluctuations and high viscosities. In the past few years there has been a surge of interest in understanding motion at a microscopic level, and the properties of active matter. This is made possible by recent advances in imaging, computational power and nanotechnology, and is driven by the aim of designing biomimetic micro- and nano-machines.